I don’t know about you, but for the longest time, I’ve pretty much delayed starting things until they were “perfect.” I didn’t want to start a gym routine until I knew I would be able to go every day at a certain time and my plan wouldn’t change. I didn’t want to get a dog until my solo routine was perfected and only then did I feel like I could add in another factor.
And that so doesn’t mesh with the desire to have everything right now at this very moment. (Also me.)
I find that creating content for business is no different. I would hold off blogging until my editorial calendar was airtight, my Asana workflows were so solid, they basically ran themselves, and I had updated every single graphic I’ve ever used in any blog post to reflect my new branding.
Same with sending emails.
Same with Instagram.
Instagram posts had to be perfect to make it in the feed, so I’d just throw anything and everything in my Story (which is fine, but there would be weeks without a post and I mean, no one cares but me, although it doesn’t look great for a writer not to write…yknow?)
I felt that fear of being perfect and having to have everything planned out and updated and juuuust right before doing anything at all. Which got me…..nowhere. Instead of moving forward with something in it’s MVP-est version, I didn’t do anything.
(And I don’t mean Most Valuable Player. I mean Minimal Viable Product.)
So when you want everything instantly to be perfect, but you have to get everything perfect to start….you’re in a Bermuda Triangle of doing nothing. And it doesn’t feel good. Any of this ringing a bell?
Please tell me and my head-in-the-sand aren’t hanging out alone here.
A lot of people wait to feel motivated before making progress.
That is so not going to do shit for you.
I just read in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, “Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause.”
In other words, you can’t wait around for inspiration to strike for your writing practice to start. You have to start your writing practice and inspiration will come as you’re in motion.
So what do you do when you know you have to do something, but can’t do anything?
My favorite “Just Get Started” / “Perfection Fake Out” trick is setting a timer and just starting. I use the Tomato One app and focus in for 25 minutes. No distractions, just write as much as I can get done in a short burst. Usually once I get started like that, the momentum builds and I keep going.
It’s similar to the Pomodoro Method which has you work for 25 minutes and then break for five. I find that, personally, I want to keep going, so I don’t take the break after 25 minutes. I’ll either reset the timer and keep going or move to another task. Then I’ll take a break after I’ve strung together about three timed sections.
Why not just set the timer for 75 minutes?
Our time expands or contracts to fill the container it’s given. If you only have 25 minutes to do something, it’ll get done in 25. If you give yourself 75 minutes, it’ll take 75. I get more done by zeroing in on just this section of time than having a wide expanse before me.
So if you don’t set a limit on when you’ll order that vacuum from Amazon, you’ll end up with 20 tabs open, price comparing each vacuum against other Amazon sellers, Target, and Consumer Reports.
Just me again? Damn, I’m giving away all my dirty secrets.
Seriously, though, I really have set a timer for 10 minutes and said, “I have 10 minutes and only 10 minutes to buy this vacuum.” It was helpful to have a solid container to remove the feeling of, “OMG This is the most important decision ever right now and I have to choose correctly!!!” feeling.
Ditto writing for clients. Or organizing receipts.
Setting a timer both helps to remove perfection and over-analyzing to the point of being paralyzed by decisions and fear of making the wrong one.
Set a timer and just write. You can edit later. The main point is just getting started with what you’re doing and generate momentum and quick, achievable wins.
From there, you can batch your work and run tasks together to make real, meaningful progress on your projects. Bit by bit, it’ll add up to a great result.
How do you manage your time and set aside fear of doing it “right” so you’re able to just get started on the damn thing?